Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, how does your garden grow? With silverbells and cockleshells, And pretty maids all in a row. (Mother Goose Rhymes)
Well we have no Mary, and our gardens is lacking silverbells and cockleshells. We also don’t have any maids in a row. But boy does our garden grow.
To give you get a true understanding of the size of these plants. The boxes were built 4 foot by 8 foot each. I’m five foot tall and the tomato plants are the same height as me after I had cut them back. I also had to cut off some leaves of the squash plants as the had covered the watermelons. The squash box plants have now over grown the box and are using the surrounding yard to keep expanding.
What did I do to make this garden grow? Nothing, I swear there has been no fertilizers or chemicals added. Nothing but good dirt, sunshine, water and love. I believe the love has been the strongest ingredient in this garden and you will soon understand why.
When I built this garden, and my neighbors who adjoins me, built his garden next to mine, my intentions was to make a place of quite. A place for me to relax. A place to shut myself off from the world, leave the cell phone behind and connect to nature and share a hobby with my fellow gardener. It was a simple plan with a simple intention.
But, I want you to know with the best of intentions… This did not happen. As you all know by now, nothing at the Love Shack ever goes as planned. Instead, it has become something better. It has become the Community Center. Please let me introduce you to Our Community.
First, there are the birds who have been very helpful in eating all the bugs. Daily we find their footprints and watch them come in and out from under the beans and through the tomato plants. But while the cute little birds where keeping the bugs off the plants, they decided that they were going to take ownership of the garden and so, we had run in!
Not once, but twice when the Mother Sparrow decided she didn’t like me in the garden, she called her friends and chased me to the back of my yard. After her third attempt when I was watering the garden, her and I had a quick little chat with the garden hose and she decided after that, chasing the person watering the garden where she is collecting lots of food for her babies was not a good idea, and we now live in harmony.
Then there is the crow who for reason we can not explain, daily pulled up the plant name tags and moved them around the garden. Eventually most of them snapped in half from him pulling them apart some many times, and we no longer have plant ID tags.
The next members of the community garden are the bunnies and skunks. We find their footprints also and can see where they have eaten some of the plants. This was an expected arrangement and extra plants were planted with this expectation in mind.
New to the family has been the raccoons. We never really seen many of them until lately. But we expect with the broken pieces of plants that they may too be checking out the garden and also the garbage cans.
My poor neighbor walked between the houses one night and had the bejesus scared out of him when one suddenly popped his head out of my garbage cans. Bungee cords have now been added to the closing of the lids on the cans each night. But they are still welcome in the garden.
The most surprising new members to the Community Garden are the Homosapiens.
I was pulling onto the road heading to the cottage this past weekend when I slowed down to speak to one of my neighbors who said. “Wait till you see your garden. It has doubled in size since last weekend.” I thought nothing of this as our yards are visible to each other.
With in a few hours I’ve learned that many of our neighbors have been coming to check on the garden. Some have pulled weeds and stood up plants leaning our by the wind. Another stopped by to let me know that I had flowers on my basil so she picked off for me to make sure my basil didn’t loose it flavor due to the flower blooms.
I have also met new neighbors who have just moved in, yes in the garden. They stopped by to say hello and let me know they had been walking by and watching the garden as it grow’s.
The most interesting ones are the ones who stopped me to talk as I was walking over to check on Husbands working on the Warriors house who said, ” Oh I know where you live, it’s the cottage with that amazing garden.”
My friend and neighbor who is keeping up on the watering of our garden when I’m not there, and myself, are having more conversations in the garden with the neighbors than I think I have had in the six years we’ve been there.
It’s become a completely enjoyable experience and I think next year there just might be a few more boxes added to our garden area. Our lovely new neighbor, has offered to help build garden boxes if others would like and I’m sure Husband won’t mind giving him a hand. I’m also pretty sure, I’ll have way to many plants that I’ll grow from seed like this year.
As for this years. Our neighbors who have been taking care of my garden when I’m not there. You know the ones, cutting the flowers off the basil, pulling the weeds and straighten up the plants that the winds blows, now have an open invitations to please use the cutting garden and come and get some fresh herbs as they grow. They have been also told as the fruits and vegetables are growing, feel free to come and pick some.
The garden was planted with way too much food for our family. It was always the plan to share it with the neighbors and the wildlife. I just never knew they were going to come over and help take care of it for me.
So as I mentioned, nothing at the Love Shack ever goes as planned. But most of the time after all is said and done, it usually turns out better. The garden is one of those things that turned out better.
As an added bonus, I’ve been given all kinds of perennials for my other gardens shared from my cottage neighbors.
I’m really liking the sharing of the garden stuff. I’m also enjoying getting to know the neighbors a bit better as now I’m actually outside working on the gardens instead of inside fixing something.
Another added bonus to this year, we have also gotten to know some of the other neighbors who live by the Warriors Cottage. With Husband having spent the last three and half months working every weekend on the kitchen at the Warriors Cottage, we have also gotten to know the neighbors close to them.
I think the co-cottagers next to the Warriors feel bad about how hard he has been working. They mention to me every time I walk over how hard this guys works and how talented he is and they have taken over mowing their lawn for us. I’m hearing that from our neighbors too and they have also taken over mowing our lawns on our whole property.
The good news is he is getting close to finishing that kitchen and when they finally get here they will have new kitchen to start with.
And when Julie and Gary do finally get here, I think I’m going to have to help them plan a party to thank all the Warriors and now neighbors who just keep going out of the way to help the people they haven’t met yet. I know a great place to do that. There is lots of room to set-up dinning tents in the garden area.